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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4157 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Committees are emanations and part of the Assembly. They have a lesser status than the Assembly itself. They are creatures of the Assembly to that extent.

I guess Mr Moore does not know this, but as chairman of the committee I have also sought these documents, and they were refused to me.

Ms Carnell: No. I have said you could have them as long as you respected the commercial-in-confidence nature of them.

MR STANHOPE: That was not your decision to make. I am pleased to see that the Government has finally relented, that it will now respond to a legitimate order of the Assembly and that these agreements will be made available to the committee. As Mr Osborne has said, the committee will deal with the agreements consistent with the standing orders. It will make the decisions that it believes are relevant and appropriate in relation to these agreements. The committee will decide what is commercial-in-confidence and the committee will decide what will be made public.

I am pleased that the Government has finally relented. I am pleased that the agreements will be made available. I am pleased that the people of Canberra will have some access to information about how their moneys are being expended by this Government and on what basis they are being expended. As Mr Osborne says, it is a pity it has taken six months for us to get to this stage and for the Government to finally realise that it has an obligation to meet the requirements of this parliament. When this parliament requests something of the Government, the Government, the Executive, has an obligation to respond to the parliament.

I heard Mr Osborne before giving us his new year's resolutions, one of which was that he would ensure that the Executive was responsive to the parliament. That is what this is about. Persistently for the last six months, the Government has refused to accept its responsibility to this parliament. I am more than happy to work with Mr Osborne in making this executive responsive to this parliament. This is the first step.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (6.01): Mr Speaker, I would like to distinguish between what happens with an Assembly committee and what happens with the Assembly. Unfortunately, Mr Stanhope is twisting what has happened. The Government is still refusing to table these documents in the Assembly, for this reason, Mr Stanhope - - -

Mr Stanhope: A committee is the Assembly.

MR MOORE: No, a committee is not the Assembly. Each and every member of the Assembly has not given the same assurance that we have had from Mr Osborne about the committee. Had that assurance been given in the first place, then you would have had these documents six months ago. It is not the Government that has been holding things up.

Mr Stanhope: Crap!

MR SPEAKER: Order! Withdraw that.

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